It is not every day that a finance minister gets overcharged for the services s/he received. However, after several citizens complained of getting overcharged due to unclear instructions on the ever-changing rates of Goods and Services Tax (GST), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley set an example of leading from the front by getting overcharged at a restaurant.
Although the Parliament canteen serves food at a very cheap rate, Jaitley decided to silence his critics by visiting a restaurant outside the Parliament. He also tweeted before visiting the restaurant: For those who claim that they are getting scammed at restaurants due to unclear instructions on GST rates, I am going to a nearby restaurant to show them how it’s done.
After the dinner, Jaitley tweeted the “mandatory photo” of the invoice, which specified that the food was taxed at 18%. The picture, which was captioned “I need new haters because the old ones have started to love me”, was shared widely by BJP followers along with the same caption, without anybody verifying the GST rate.
It was only after alert citizens informed Jaitley that he had reduced the rate on restaurant food from 18% to 5% earlier this month that the embarrassed minister took the picture down.
However, Jaitley was quick to realise the blunder and addressed a press conference to defend himself. “If the citizens of this country can pay more, why, as the finance minister of the country, can’t I? A leader’s efficiency is tested only if he leads from the front; that’s exactly what I have done,” he said.
The owner of the restaurant Jaitley visited has been missing since the press conference. The CCTV footage revealed that BJP President Amit Shah had visited the restaurant that day, after which the restaurant owner mysteriously disappeared. However, Shah denied visiting the restaurant. “If the CCTV footage shows that I had gone there, it is a technical problem,” he said.